Hounslow Sikh temple gets royal visitors

Hounslow October 15, 2004,

The Duke of Edinburgh had to cover his head to go into the temple. A £2.5m plan to expand a Sikh temple in west London has been given the royal seal of approval.

The Queen visited the temple in Hounslow on Friday and viewed an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of Sikh scriptures.

She unveiled a plaque to open the temple's second phase of development.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, met Sikh war veterans and elders at the temple, which was built in 1992.

On arrival, they were presented with garlands and asked to remove their shoes and cover their heads.

The visit also marked the 25th anniversary of the west London temple.

Mohan Singh Nayyar, general secretary of the Hounslow temple, said the visit had left the Sikh community feeling very proud and happy.

"One of the reasons why the Queen came in the first place was because of the many activities we have at this Gurdwara in partnership with local organisations which benefit not only the Sikh community but the local community in Hounslow as well.

"It was this initiative that probably sold it the Queen and she decided to visit the Gurdwara."

Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, took some unusual steps during their latest official visit to a west London Sikh temple.

After receiving a pink and white floral garland upon her arrival at the Gurdware Sri Singh Sabha Temple in Houslow, the Queen donned a cream-coloured headscarf and removed her shoes to enter the place of worship, in line with cultural tradition.

Still wearing black gloves and carrying a matching handbag, the monarch, clad in socks and a white tweed dress, continued her visit by meeting war veterans and viewing an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of Sikh scriptures.

The monarch's husband, Prince Philip, who had also been presented with a white floral garland on arrival, likewised conformed to tradition by wearing a blue scarf on his head during the tour.